Kings at Oilers, G33, 09-10

When it comes to ugly, the Los Angeles Kings have always been at the front of the line. Their original Kings logo used a Queen’s crown because the guy they sent to find a photo didn’t know the difference. They used to ship out first round picks for aging, overpaid NHL stars every season and they lost a lot of hockey games.

Original owner Jack Kent Cooke bought the franchise rights thinking that the many hundreds of thousands of transplanted Canadians would love to have a local hockey team. They stayed away from his lovely new Forum (built in a terrible area of town) in droves, causing the classic line from Cooke (“now I know why all those Canadians moved to LA: to get away from hockey!”) and sealing the reputation of a sad-sack bunch despite the climate and scenery.

Through the years the team did have some splendid players: Widing, Vachon, Dionne, Simmer, Taylor, Duchesne and then 99′s arrival which changed the team forever. Luc Robitaille was probably the best player they ever drafted but I’ll tell you there’s some competition for that title just beginning their NHL careers. Those men are in the city tonight.

Los Angeles is a quality hockey team, at or near the top of their division and conference. They are flat out loaded with young talent at all positions and their GM has sprinkled in quality and experience without mortgaging the future. 20 years ago LA would make some bonehead play for a starting goalie and send away a major piece of the future. It looks like those days are gone.

The Oilers are home and dry after a stunning road trip. They’ve got goalies and defensemen with bad backs and they’ve got skilled men playing like they can’t hit the ocean, plus they’ve got two goalies with very little experience as the 1-2 combo. And yet they’ve been winning. The #1 line is once again changed from the last time it worked (now Gagner-Penner-Brule) but with Hemsky gone and Horcoff working with others that unit seems to be catching lightning in a bottle.

It’s time to lock Corsi in another room and cheer like hell for the home team. Another 5 wins and the Edmonton Oilers will be close to being near a position that isn’t far from the teams who are challenging for the playoffs. It’s pretty damn exciting!!!

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